The Design Is Murder

Murders By Design, #5

This cozy style mystery set against the humid backdrop of Florida and its mega-mansions is a real puzzler.

Who would have ever guessed that interior designing could be so dangerous? Well, for Deva, working for two clients in Florida's wealthiest community proves to be tricky business when a young newlywed dies suddenly and another death follows soon after.

Deva can't help but butt her head into the investigation, although her fiancé, Rossi warns her that no foul play has been suspected or proved. To make things even more interesting, Deva has been commissioned to do some work for a charity committed to helping ex-cons, whose organizer has a thing for snakes.

So, Deva finds herself employed by two men in competition with each other, both have wives die under mysterious circumstances, both try to monopolize Deva's time, and both are engaged to be married again, but could one of them be a murderer?

Can Deva get to the truth and solve the mystery or will she become the next victim?

As with most cozy novels, the story is character driven and the mystery remains light.

I loved Rossi!! What a great guy and just what Deva needs to move forward after her husband's death. The characters are all well drawn and Deva's narrative is each to follow. As with most amateur detectives, Deva doesn't stop to consider the danger she could be in or how evidence is perceived in a court of law. However, she does have a knack for finding who is involved and why, much to the chagrin of Rossi, who Deva scares to death with her sleuthing techniques.

I often need a break from mysteries that contain graphic violence or detailed forensics, but find some cozies are too silly and a little insulting to my intelligence. However, this one was a notch above a lot of cozies I have read recently. This book has all the elements I like in a cozy mystery and kept me guessing until the very end.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and Deva's voice is refreshing, likeable and comical at times. I recommend this one especially to those who like the cozy genre, but also to anyone who is just in the mood for lighter toned mystery. 4 stars

Book Blurb for The Design Is Murder

Interior designer Deva Dunne should be focusing her attention on buying a new home with Lt. Victor Rossi. But in typical Deva-style, she's got her mind on everyone else's abodes. Keeping her busy are her two newest clients, who have a lot in common. They both live on Whiskey Lane, and both were involved with the same woman. Coincidence or competition?

James Stahlman believes Stew Hawkins moved into the house across the street to terrorize him after he became engaged to Kay, Stew's ex-wife. But Stew is over it. He's remarried—and to someone much younger. When both women are found "accidentally" dead weeks apart, Deva thinks there's something afoot on Whiskey Lane. Coincidence or murder?

Deva can't stay away…as much as her protective fiancé would like her to. And it's becoming clear that someone thinks Deva's seen too much. With the list of suspects growing, and Deva and Rossi that much closer to becoming homeless—really, where are they going to live?—she'll have to sift through the clues herself, or there'll be no happily ever after.

71,000 words

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2015 4.00